Aug 30, 2017

Goodbye Harvey, Hello United

I just sat down in the last row of seats on a plane at the Dallas / Fort Worth airport.

My husband and I said good bye and good riddance to Harvey yesterday and made the long trek here by car.

Heading to Japan. So grateful. So blessed.

And so thankful for all the comments and thoughts and prayers from my quilter friends at home and in Japan.

Most of all.... I am grateful the sun is shining over parts of my city today!

Aug 29, 2017

Harvey, day whatever

Truly awful and not over.

My heart aches for my city. So much devastation.

Its too early to talk about recovery.... we are still in the disaster. Our levees and dams and bridges are at risk. And all the people.... and homes... its all so much.

For now, we must keep moving forward... and for me, that means going to Japan.

I have an event that was planned months ago and people are coming from cities all over Japan.

So United Airlines helped book me on a flight to Narita from Dallas. Thanks #unitedairlines

My very kind husband drove me to Dallas today.... was difficult to get out.

Tomorrow I will be on my way.

Houston will be on mind and in my prayers.

Aug 27, 2017

Harvey, part 2

We are in the middle of an incredible natural disaster in Houston. 

This photo shows a major intersection, close to my house... downtown Houston skyline is in the background.

At 4 am this morning I moved all my quilts to the 2nd floor....(in case the first floor floods).

Save the quilts!

So I am prepared. But, the devastation all around makes me speechless.

We are safe. But both Houston airports are closed till further notice. Both are under water.... so doubtful I will flying to Japan on Tuesday.  Hoping I might get out later. Lots of people have much bigger problems. My heart goes out to them.

Aug 26, 2017

packing for Japan, anxiety over Harvey

For months, I've been planning to leave August 29th for Japan.

My bags are almost packed. My itinerary is completely packed.... and now Hurricane Harvey.

I'm wracked with anxiety.... not only for my flight, but for everyone caught up in this horrible storm. People have lost homes in the hardest hit area near Victoria... and the second floor of a home in a Houston suburb was ripped off this morning. And my husband is right in the middle of all ot it! He works as a television news crew for the national networks. Right now he is in a hotel with no staff and no electricity... and surrounded by water in every direction.
So my flight is a minor thing at this point.
But on September 2, I have planned a fantastic event at the Amuse Museum in Asakusa!!! Lots of people are coming to celebrate the book launch. And I absolutely want to get on that plane!!!!

If the weather models are correct, Houston might be a giant lake in another day or so.

All I can do is wait.... and pray for everyone in the path of this hell of a storm.

Aug 24, 2017

what's a tenugui, you ask?

Meet the Tenugui - an iconic Japanese cotton textile.

The Japanese Tenugui is a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, you see them pretty much everywhere in Japan. On the other hand. some Tenugui are considered precious and rare works of art.

The cotton Tenugui has been a part of Japan's textile history for many centuries. The translation means hand towel.

Its infinitely practical, yet highly decorated. In fact, the "real" ones are all hand dyed using a process known as Chusen. The design is applied using stencils and a paste-resist, then steaming hot dyes are poured over the cloth. Mastering this art form takes many years of study and dedication.

Making a hand-dyed Tenugui is a painstaking process... I describe it thoroughly in my new book: "Cotton & Indigo from Japan." Want to read more, click here.

The cotton Tenugui is a type of super thin towel, originally designed to be used at bath houses.  The paper thin cotton was designed to dry fast... and the Tenugui does not have any sewn edges or bulk.

 The Tenugui is almost always the exact same size - about 35 inches long and about 13 inches wide.

The width is slightly slimmer than the standard kimono width of about 14 inches.

Today it has many uses. One of the most obvious is as a type of head band - its worn they way this artist below is wearing his. Staff in many noodle shops and restaurants wear Tenugui on their heads.

They can also be worn under a kimono as a type of collar, and they are very popular at festivals and outdoor events. 

And here's a tip. If you visit Japan, buy one of these and keep it in your purse (guys you're on your own). Most public restrooms in Japan do not have paper towels or dryers for your hands. Everyone carries their own hand towels... and these little jewels are perfect. Light and cute! Tenugui also make great gifts.

The Tenugui and its sister textile - the colorful, hand-dyed Yukata - are both fully explained in my new book. During my research, I visited two of the very small number of studios still making Tenugui and Yukata the way its been made for centuries. Its a fascinating process and the results are both stunning and charming.

"Cotton & Indigo from Japan" is available on Amazon, or from my website.

Aug 11, 2017

fabric for you, from Japan with love

This might be one of my favorite photos ever!

Six BOLTS! of fabric designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji - right here in my studio. These are her brand new designs. They're printed by Yuwa in Japan and imported by me. So I guess that makes me an official importer. Doing my bit to balance our international trade. :)

I'm bringing this fabric to you! I'll have a nice selection of Japanese quilting cottons for sale at my quilt guild lectures over the next 12 months!

Yoshiko Jinzenji is one of Japan's most innovative quilt artists. She is featured in my new book and I can't wait for you to read her story. She is one of the quilt world's true geniuses.

I've been fortunate to have the chance to visit with her in her Kyoto home and studio.

Teresa Duryea Wong with Yoshiko Jinzenji, in Kyoto.

Her quilts are abstract and richly textured whole cloth creations. On many occasions, she has spun and dyed her own cloth. Everything is quilted on the machine and her quilted lines are simply stunning. Museums all over the world have collected her work.

These days, she has mostly retired from quilt making and focuses her boundless energy on cooking! She still mentors a small group of extremely talented quilters. Akiko Shibusawa is one of those artists. And her work is also featured in my new book!

Meanwhile, Yoshiko continues to design fabric and her latest creations are just lovely. These might be my favorite actually. I'll let you in on a little secret (and I don't mind saying this here because my husband never reads my blog, haha!) I hope you do not buy this fabric at one of my lectures, because if you don't, I can keep it all for myself! Isn't that sweet of me? 


And I have more fabric for you too!

Spread all over the floor here are packets of new designs by Yoko Saito. Beautiful cotton hand and lovely colors! I also have lots of cotton prints and woven cottons by Yoko Saito in the taupe palette. These are beautiful too!

See you soon!